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Thread: Advise on remodeling a shed into a shop

  1. #11
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    Beaumont, TX
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    I had a separate meter for my shop when I was in Iowa and it had a separate monthly bill. My tradeoff was the cost of copper for running a feed from the existing service vs. the extra monthly charges on the separate bill. I got double billed for all the extra charges: fees, regulation charges, etc., etc., etc. I was in a trailer park so I figured it was temporary and copper was at a high point at the time (post Katrina). So I just decided to pay the monthly charges. But if this is a permanent situation, you may want to sharpen your pencil before making the decision. You could easily be out many hundreds of dollars a year in future years.


    In Florida I built an attached shop and the run was short to it so copper was cheap. I upgraded to 150 Amp service and added a sub panel in the shop. Worst cost was the copper from the pole. No problems with capacity ever.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  2. #12
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    Aug 2007
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    Monroe,GA
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    When I lived in Tennessee, eelctric co-op was able to pull the meter from the house, installed it on the pole to both shop and house. I had to trench in a 4" (I think) PVC counduit to the pole and blow a pull string through it. No extra per month since there was only one meter.

  3. #13
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    Jan 2003
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    Deep in the Heart of Texas!
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    You're not likely to be running everything at once unless the other half is doing something too. I put in a 70A line with a 50A breaker going to my shop. (Couldn't find a 70A breaker at the time.) I run a big compressor, lights, machines, welders, grinders, fans and all but never once popped the main. But I rarely use them all at once.

    I also have a drop from that line for my plating shed and a motorhome/outdoor outlet box. Both of those are set up with 30A breakers. If I ever do pop the main, I can always slip in a 70A breaker. The wiring is already setup for it.
    Last edited by CCWKen; 06-13-2012 at 04:02 PM.

  4. #14
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    Nov 2010
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    Lafayette Indiana
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    I wouldnt bother having a seperate service installed. Your shop is tiny as it is, so why lose wall space with another panel? Use a breaker off your house panel.
    "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    I was faced with the same problem and I ended up installing a new larger exterior service box on the house, from there ran an underground line to the shop, 200 amp service there. The house service remained as it was :100 amp. I talked with the power company and this route made the most sense for me, two meters or services entailed two bills, and both with a minimum charge. Upgrading the house entailed major changes and grief, so this solution gave me plenty of power to the shop at a reasonable cost.

    rollin'

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by justanengineer
    I wouldnt bother having a seperate service installed. Your shop is tiny as it is, so why lose wall space with another panel? Use a breaker off your house panel.
    He'll still need a panel unless he's running 240v lights and hand tools.
    Or everything is using 120v. You sure don't want to run 240v lines and rely on a single breaker then use split the legs for 120v with no breaker.

  7. #17
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    Jan 2003
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    Would you even be allowed a separate service to that small of a building? I wouldn't go that route anyway, unless forced to. And, I can't imagine the cost of having the electric company instal, trench, etc. You could probably buy a new small car for what they'd charge. And yes, you will be paying all the usual minimum charges for the second meter, plus usage. It will add up over time, and that money might well be better spent upgrading your house panel.

    Which brings up another point- if your house panel is at capacity already, it's likely that in another couple years it will be too small for the house. I would think about whether you would have the need to up the capacity over the next two or three years, and if so, then do it now to facilitate powering the workshop from it now. It might be more dollars now, but it sure as heck isn't going to be cheaper at any later time. Your electric company might have to upgrade the drop to your house to increase the amperage if the wire is too thin right now, but it's possible that the gauge is heavy enough right now. I know on my house it isn't- but then it was wired over fifty years ago. My 100 amp panel must have been on the large side back then

    What's common in homes these days- say anything built in the last 20 yrs- would that be a 200 amp panel? That would probably handle your home and shop with capacity to spare.

    I agree with others- put in the larger wire to start with to avoid having to change it later. That also gives you more consistent voltage from the two hots when you're powering 110 loads. 60 amp breaker from your house panel sounds about right. And do put in a fairly normal panel with room for at least 8 breakers. Check the price- sometimes you pay more for less. A 'mainstream' size panel might be a good idea, like a 100 amp or so- again you won't ever be able to buy the panel for less in the future, and it's quite likely that you'll have a need to run more circuits later, especially if you have any ideas on expanding the shop.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Good points on the not using everything at once angle. Really the lathe and several other tools could share a circuit too since it manual and isn't going to be running when I'm somewhere else. I can run wire heavy enough for 80 amps to the shed and put in a 100 amp panel out there.

    I think I'll go with the 60A breaker and run from the house to the shed. I don't think an upgrade would be needed for that but we'll see what the electrician says on Friday.

  9. #19
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    You might want to install more amperage and phase than you are thinking you need as you don't know if you will need more later. What if you wind up needing bigger machines or more building later? You can use only what you need to and have more available later with out much hassle. Plus it can be a selling point for the property if you move somewhere else.

    When my father had power run to this place, (nothing here but trees, moles, and cowpies circa 1962) he had three phase 200A installed even though he had no immediate use for it. Now I have eight 3ph machines running here. He had no idea I would be here running a machine shop at that time. He did, however have a vision to the future and knew that upgrading after the fact would cost more.

    He was able to put together a wood shop(circa 1980) in the upstairs of this "barn" which houses my shop. There are a couple of 3ph machines in the wood shop. By the time he had that shop in going like he wanted it, his health deteriated and he didn't get to enjoy it as he should have.

    Were it not for his vision, I would have had to try to use 1ph machines to make my way as that is all I had at my property. Three phase there was going to cost a lot because the closest 'tap' was about five miles away and I was expected to pay for the hook-up. Power company didn't charge here as it was new hook and my place was old hook-up.
    Krutch


    Mentally confused and prone to wandering!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    7,951

    Default well I finally bought it!

    If you work alone and use one machine at a time you should be ok. Alistair
    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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